The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has announced the preferred route to build a new motorway between Pūhoi and Warkworth, just north of Auckland.
The new route will form part of the Pūhoi to Wellsford road of national significance (RoNS), aimed at improving safety, reliability and journey times on State Highway 1 (SH1) for freight, tourism and motorists.
As the main road link for the freight industry, the new route will better connect Northland to the markets of Auckland and the central North Island to stimulate economic growth in Northland and the Upper North Island.
NZTA State Highways Manager for Auckland and Northland, Tommy Parker,says the agency’s traffic modelling shows that the average number of vehicles travelling between Pūhoi and Warkworth each day is expected to increase by around 60 percent over the next 15 years, and the new route would provide significant time savings for motorists and for commercial operators carrying freight.
“A divided motorway with a central median barrier will also greatly improve safety, eliminating the kind of head-on collisions which have claimed four lives on this stretch of highway since 2006.”
Mr Parker says detailed work to develop the next phase of the project has been progressing well, incorporating community feedback on the indicative route provided last year.
While the overall route was similar to the indicative route announced last year, some alterations had been made as a result of community and stakeholder feedback. Details are available at www.nzta.govt.nz/puhoi-wellsford(external link).
Mr Parker says the NZTA is committed to ongoing engagement with the community and property owners as the project moves forward.
“We appreciate that property owners potentially affected by the project have been waiting to see the preferred route so that they can plan ahead. At times, the wait has been understandably frustrating, and we thank them for their patience.”
Staff from NZTA have been visiting and speaking with property owners affected by the preferred route. A 3D simulation of the preferred route is also available to view on the project website.
Public information days are planned to answer questions and view a plan of the preferred route:
Mr Parker says the NZTA is aiming to complete the consent and designation process for the Pūhoi-to-Warkworth section of the highway by the end of 2014, and then be ready to construct.
He said an indicative route for the Warkworth-Wellsford RoNS section is not being announced at this time and a start date for construction has not been established.
“We are currently reviewing options for this section of the RoNS as part of a long term plan up to 2050 that will identify improvements for SH1 between Auckland and Northland. While our preferred option remains a separate, four-lane, off-line motorway between Warkworth and Wellsford, we are considering this alongside potential on-line projects to improve safety at locations with a high crash rate in the Brynderwyns and the Dome Valley,” says Mr Parker.
Improving reliability, safety and journey times